BJP wants to shake me, but it has lost battle in Bihar: Lalu

Lalu Prasad Yadav spoke to Anirban Guha Roy about the launch of his campaign and the challenges before him. Excerpts:

india Updated: Sep 26, 2015 23:22 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times
RJD,Bihar elections,Lalu Prasad Yadav
File photo of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav at a press conference in New Delhi.(Arvind Yadav/ HT Photo)

Seated on a chair draped with a white towel under a prefabricated shed, wearing a white dhoti and a light blue T-shirt, RJD chief Lalu Prasad is meeting a motley group of workers from Motihari. Looking fresh with a teeka on his forehead, he spoke to Anirban Guha Roy about the launch of his campaign and the challenges before him: Excerpts:

The BJP has called for Parivartan whereas you are talking of caste and Mandal II?

The BJP has given the right call. There will be Parivartan, but in Delhi. They will lose Bihar and watch its impact throughout the country. What Parivartan are they talking about? Is it about transfers and postings? Prices of essentials are rising and they keep harping that fuel prices have dropped. Do we start drinking petrol, instead of dal?

What about Mulayam Singh’s Third Front, which threatens to divide your Muslim Yadav votebank?

Samajwadi Party is not a challenge. The Yadavs are being wooed by everybody but the Yaduvanshis and the poor are with me.

The NDA has accused you of giving Yadavs more prominence in tickets, ignoring claims of EBCs and others.

We have given representation to all sections. The BJP should first clarify how many seats they have allotted to upper castes.

It is perceived that Nitish Kumar is the face of the alliance but it’s Lalu Prasad who is the sword arm against the PM. So is it a Modi vs Lalu fight in Bihar?

I am the firmest pole in Bihar politics. The BJP wants to shake me but they have lost the battle before the war.

Will you and CM Nitish Kumar campaign jointly? How many poll meetings will you address during the campaign?

We will have some meetings together. I will be addressing five to seven meetings a day. RSS is the biggest threat as it wants to replace the Tricolour with the saffron flag. This election is a fight to save the country’s integrity and secular fabric.

There is a perception that you want to cash in on Bhagwat’s reservation quote to mobilise backward classes and play the Mandal II card.

Why shouldn’t I? The RSS chief has reiterated he wants a review on reservations. I dare him to scrap it.

Do you feel reservation is relevant after so many years?

It has become an issue. I will go to the poor and tell them how the BJP and RSS are trying to snatch their constitutional right. The reservation issue is as relevant as it was in 1990s. Lot of work is yet to be done.

First Published: Sep 26, 2015 23:22 IST